Bundy defied the order and the court issued another court order the next year demanding that he abide by the 1998 court order. But, meanwhile Bundy’s cattle expanded from even that area on to other lands in the area. By 2012, Bundy’s cattle ranged into the Bunkerville allotment, the Gold Butte area and the Lake Mead National Recreation area.
Bundy argued in court that he had pre-emptive grazing rights as ancestors of his maternal grandmother grazed their cattle there in the late 1800s. But, the court could find no record that this was so, and the court also determined that Bundy failed to demonstrate any special grazing rights when given the opportunity to do so, and so denied Bundy’s claim to special rights. The court determined that the Bundy family didn’t begin grazing cattle on the land until 1954 and began making payments for grazing rights in 1973 and continued paying until 1993.
Bundy also argued that the land did not belong to the U.S. Government and that instead it belonged to the state of Nevada and that because of that, the U.S. had no jurisdiction. But, the court countered saying that the th U.S. government held title to those lands since 1848 when Mexico ceded the land to the government.
By October, 2013, the court again ordered that the land be protected from Bundy’s cattle and allowed BLM to seize any cattle remaining in those areas. In March, BLM acted on the order and closed areas of the public land as they prepared for a roundup. Approximately 400 head were rounded up.
But Bundy would send out letters with the title, Range War Emergency Notice and Demand for Protection. He also called for support from the Oath Keepers, White Mountain Militia, and the Praetorian Guard, and militia members from around the country converged on Bunkerville.
After demonstrations as well as confrontations broke out between federal officers, protesters and militia, where militiamen pointed weapons at federal officers, and in turn, officers pointed back, BLM called off the roundup of the illegal cattle and decided to find a solution “administratively and judicially.”
As for the bill of $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees, Bundy says that he has “never been sent a bill,” but he has also stated that he never opens any mail from the U.S. Government. He has stated in the past that he is a sovereign citizen and doesn’t believe the U.S. government actually exists.
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